Now that its over, here’s my thoughts:
ABC News Insta Poll has Kerry at 42% and Bush at 41% with the rest thinking it was a tie . Also, and perhaps more telling, is that participants in the poll were 38% Republican, 31% Democrat and 14% Independent. So, does that mean that some Republicans actually thought Kerry did a better job in the debate? Perhaps. Could these be the elusive and much talked about “swing” voters? I would like to think so. Although I still have no idea how someone could be undecided at this point.
This was the first time that I really thought it was close even though, in the end, I feel Kerry won. Bush managed to come across as more likable towards the end of the debate and Kerry inched a little closer to being animated. Sadly, he still comes across as a bit of a stiff but gets much higher marks for his intelligence and ability to answer complex questions in a thoughtful and decisive manner. Bush did little, if anything, to change the impression that he lacks competence and a clear vision for the future.
What this will do for the respective campaigns is difficult to tell. Both candidates definitely appealed to their base supporters but I think didn’t do that much to appeal to other voters. Kerry actually seemed more conservative on questions of gun control and immigration and definitely gave Bush a stunning blow with his “Tony Soprano” line.
One of Bush’s worst moment came when responding to question about the shortage of flu vaccine. It’s obvious that his administration dropped the ball but he didn’t take responsibility for it which is a common problem for him. His lack of accountability will hurt him when people go to the polls.
When asked who was responsible for higher healthcare costs, he joked, “Well I hope it’s not my administration’s.” It is his administration that’s responsible but he just doesn’t see it that way. He just doesn’t see that he has to be accountable because he is.
Also, I really think that Bush needs to stop saying that Kerry will hand over veto power to other countries when it comes to the defense of this country. Just saying something over and over that isn’t true and contrary to the recorded facts doesn’t make it true. In fact, I think it makes you look petty and a little desperate.
I think it comes down to this: If you feel that healthcare, jobs, the economy and things of that nature are important, you will go for Kerry. If 9/11 changed the face of elections so that homeland security and defense against terrorism are your most important concerns, than I think you would probably vote for Bush.
The Bush campaign has definitely done a good job of driving home the message that a vote for Kerry means that we won’t be as safe and will probably be subject to another attack. They will increase those efforts over the next 20 days. The Kerry campaign will continue to attack Bush on Iraq and the negative direction of the economy.
Both campaign have their work cut out for them and will be hitting the “swing” states hard. If you live someplace like Nevada or Ohio, be prepared for a campaign onslaught. I hope you like politics because for the next 20 days, you will be getting tons of it.
This is a great country we live in despite its flaws and problems. Over the last few weeks it is gratifying to see that so many people are interested in the electoral process and are watching the debates. We are very lucky that we live in a free society and have the right to vote for out leaders. There is no excuse not to vote.
Although, if you plan on voting for Bush, feel free to stay home on election day as your vote won’t count anyway. Kerry is going to win.